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Washington talks about utility infielders

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers manager Ron Washington talked about utility infielders on Saturday. With second baseman Ian Kinsler out at least a week with a high right ankle sprain, it's on the Rangers' brains right now.

Esteban German, Joaquin Arias and Ray Olmedo remain the in-house contenders. You can add Hernan Iribarren, whom the Rangers signed on Saturday.

Washington has been pleased with German's progress in spring training, but the big question is whether he can play shortstop. Washington made it clear once again on Saturday that he wants his utility infielder to be able to play shortstop.

"I know he could do it for two or three days, but I don't know about two weeks," Washington said. "That's why we've got him out there working on it. He's got the physical tools, but we'll see how he reacts in games."

German played shortstop for the final three innings of Satuday's game as he continues to get some work there. As for his bat, German is 5-for-13 with four runs, four walks and two stolen bases.

Arias looked comfortable in Saturday's game, playing second base for the entire nine innings with Kinsler out.

"Joaquin is doing well," Washington said. "He is throwing 100 percent better than what we saw last year. So far he lookes pretty good on the routine stuff. I want to see him go deep in the hole and make plays there."

Arias did make one very nice play at second on Saturday, ranging to his left and spinning around to get a runner at second. He also had a couple of hits. Washington said Arias' throws have been fine and that he's seen nothing to indicate a "red flag."

Washington said the more he sees Olmedo, the more he likes.

"He's played second base and third base and he's earning playing well enough to earn some more playing time," Washington said.